Novartis has posted a solid set financials for the second quarter, with net profit reaching $2.59 billion, up 3%, while group sales edged up 2% to $14.64 billion.

Pharmaceutical turnover inched up 1% to $8.20 billion, hit by a 20% fall in sales of the blood pressure lowerer Diovan (valsartan) to $743 million, due to generic competition. Turnover from Glivec/Gleevec (imatinib), for chronic myeloid leukaemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumours were pretty flat at  $1.20 billion, while the successor to Glivec, Tasigna (nilotinib), approved for CML, contributed $373 million, up 18%.
Turnover of the acromegaly therapy Sandostatin (ocreotide) rose 3% to $417 million, while the cardiovascular drug Exforge (amlodipine plus valsartan) brought in $370 million, down 2%, Tekturna/Rasilez (aliskiren) fell 37% to just $54 million.

Better news came from sales of Lucentis (ranibizumab) for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, which rose 7% to $619 million, while kidney cancer drug Afinitor (everolimus) soared 25% to $384 million. Turnover from Galvus (vildagliptin) climbed 13% to $328 million, while the oral multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya brought in $606 million, a leap of 29%; the latter has been used to treat more than 100,000 patients, the first MS pill to hit that level.

In the emerging markets, sales grew 8% (at constant currencies and excluding diagnostics), led by Russia (+17%) and China (+13%). Biosimilars were up 23% to $128 million.

Chief executive Joe Jimenez (pictured) said that “we also made significant progress on innovation across the portfolio”, including US approval for Zykadia (ceritinib) in ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer and bagging breakthrough status across the Atlantic for the leukaemia drug CTL019.